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Brendan Duddy was a figure of courage

Brendan Duddy, who has died at the age of 81, was a person who preferred to act behind the scenes but over many years played a key role in the search for peace and progress in Ireland.

He privately facilitated contacts between the British government and republicans in highly sensitive and often risk-filled circumstances which helped to prepare the way for the 1994 IRA ceasefire and ultimately the Good Friday Agreement four years later.

Mr Duddy routinely placed his work as a mediator ahead of his personal safety, and was happy to withdraw into the background in his native Derry when he felt that he had achieved his aims.

However, his contribution was a crucial one and he deserves to be remembered as a figure who displayed both vision and courage at a time when it was badly needed.

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